Risking lives against all odds part of their life

Risking lives against all odds part of their life

They swim against all tides just for two square meals a day. They risk their lives against all odds, they stand stern against gigantic waves and gusty winds in the sea…

These are the fishermen, who venture into the sea for traditional fishing, for the sake of livelihood during the ban on fishing, in monsoon.

‘Nadadhoni Meenugarike,’ as it is popularly called is taken up by fishermen in the coast to eke out their life when 57 days of ban on mechanised fishing is imposed.

The dull seacoast is only vibrant for the sake of the fishing activities carried out by the traditional boat fishermen during monsoon.

Usually these fishermen venture into sea after performing ‘Samudra Pooja’ to the Sea God seeking blessings to save them from all the dangers they confront in the sea.

The Malpe Nadadhoni Association President Janardhan Tingalaya told Deccan Herald that fishing during rainy season is of risk.

“We venture into sea without the guarantee that we will be back. It is like gambling with life. The life in sea itself is danger, however that too in rainy season, is highly dangerous.

We get meager income and we have to look after the family needs with the money we earn,” he said.

In order to avoid tragedies, the fishermen who are into traditional fishing in country boats do fishing only from 6 am to 6 pm.

Fishing at sea in night during rainy season will only end up in disaster.

There are no safety equipment to save ourselves against the high tides.

Sometimes the Kerala fishermen who are using gillnet and do fishing in the night put their lives at risk.

These fishermen from Kerala cross their border and enter into our limits and are responsible in snatching away our fish catch, Tingalaya said.

Nityananda Kharvi, who is also part of the fishing activities during monsoon, said that they are able to procure fish catch only for 10-15 days in the total ban days of 57 days. “There is no profit in the business. It is as if we earn something instead of sitting empty handed at homes,” he added.

The fishing is taken up in the boats, which is installed with 25 HP engine.

However, the engine is used only in the initial phase, as the sea-current will not allow the boats to move forward from Alive Bagilu.

Tingalaya said that the engine is switched off once the boats cross Alive Bagilu. Nearly each boat needs 100 litres of kerosene and five litres of petrol everyday.

“Earlier we used to catch four to five buckets of fish. The number has drastically reduced. We have to struggle to get  at least half-bucket fish everyday. The price is anywhere around Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 for a bucket of fishes, depending on the demand.”

He added that the traditional fishing is totally done in a cooperative pattern. That is around 30 fishermen invest on a single boat.

The initial funding will be done by borrowing money.

Each one will invest Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.

“Whatever fishes we get in a boat, will be equally distributed among all the 30 members who have invested irrespective of the efforts we put.

It is absolutely gambling with your destiny. At the end of the season, we earn from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. Yet again it solely depends on our luck. We may end up with mere Rs 5,000,” he said with uncertainty.

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